The liberation of Pooneryn couldn't have come at a better time for President Mahinda Rajapaksa engaged in a war on the political front where the UNP, the TNA and the JVP have joined forces to dislodge his government.
A message General Sherman telegraphed to President Lincoln in 1864 comes to mind. "I beg to present you," Sherman, having successfully completed his march through Georgia and South Carolina, told Lincoln, "as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah …." Similarly, mutatis mutandis, it may be argued that Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka has delivered Pooneryn to President Rajapaksa as a birthday gift. The army chief is likely to make a Savannah of Kilinochchi for the President in time for Christmas.
Prabhakaran, when asked at his Vanni press conference in 2002 what he considered his best military achievement was, said it had been the thwarting of Operation Jaya Sikuru (launched by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1997 to open A-9 highway in spite of expert advice that A-32 should be cleared instead). With the opening of A-32 road, A-9 highway which Prabhakaran is hugging at present at a tremendous cost has been rendered obsolete! The army has proved there is more than one way to skin a cat.
With the army now poised to march eastwards on several fronts, the LTTE will have to vacate Muhamalai and Elephant Pass sooner or later thus letting more columns of troops move out from the peninsula bringing unbearable pressure to bear on Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. If Prabhakaran thinks he can effectively put up resistance on all fronts, he is only daydreaming. He is hoist with his own petard and stewing in his own juice.
It will be interesting to know what the Tiger chief has got to tell the world when he makes his birthday speech in less than two weeks. He is likely to avoid rhetoric and make a passionate entreaty to his Tamil Nadu allies to intervene and take him off the hook. But, the sky is not the limit for his Indian sympathizers in backing him, as evident from the recent extension of the LTTE ban in India. India's Additional Solicitor General P. P. Malhotra, it may be recalled, giving reasons for extending proscription said though the LTTE was based in Sri Lanka, it had sympathizers and agents on Indian soil. That shows India's grave security concerns vis-à-vis the pro-Eelam campaign in Tamil Nadu. Prabhakaran's friends in India will therefore have no alternative but to subjugate their separatist agenda to the national security interests of the union.
The capture of Pooneryn caused Rathu Sahodarayas to be caught with pants down on Saturday, when they voted against the budget while pledging support for the military campaign against the LTTE. Last December, having abstained at the final budget vote thus dashing the UNP's hopes of scuttling the budget, JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe and JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told the media – The Island of Dec. 17, 2007 – that a victory for the UNP would have had a catastrophic impact on the military campaign against the LTTE. There would have been chaos and political instability to the advantage of the enemy, the duo said. It is a supreme irony that the JVP voted against the budget this year. Is it that the JVP wants to bring about 'chaos and political instability' at this juncture for the benefit of the LTTE?
The public may have taken the UNP's vote against the budget for granted as the UNP and the SLFP are notorious for pursuing their political agendas, at the expense of the national interest. But, Rathu Sahodarayas wearing patriotism on their sleeve stand unmasked. Wrapped in the flag, they find themselves in the exalted company of the Tiger proxies! What a shame!